When I bought my first Ford Ranger (I’m on my second one now) I got some teasing from people telling me that Ford stood for ‘Found On Roadside Dead’, among other things. As it turns out, my two Rangers have been great little trucks, and I’m hanging on to my current one since they don’t make them anymore.
All of which has nothing to do with what I want to talk about this month. What I really want to talk about is the many other things I’ve found on roadsides in the last couple of years as I’ve gotten into doing a lot of hiking. I do a lot of walking along the roads around here because I won’t walk in the desert in the dark and if you want to go a long way you don’t have much of a choice.
What I’ve found in my roadside walking is that there’s a whole lot of unauthorized material lying by the sides of our roads. Not just ours either. A fair amount of the Camino in Spain was roadside and there was some stuff there as well.
Believe me, I’ve seen a lot of strange things out there. Here’s a short list, and some of you younger folks may have to google some of these:
- Dirty diapers (really?)
- Auto parts
- Old vinyl records
- VHS cassettes including a porno (I know this by the label, not because I watched it! Keep it clean out there!)
- Books (last week I found a workbook on building a good marriage!)
- One very used rattlesnake skin.
On and on it goes but I’ll stop there.
As time has passed, I’ve wondered how all this stuff gets there. Is it thrown out? Does it just fly off of trailers as they pass by? Who knows. One thing’s for sure: most of it doesn’t look like anything that anyone would stop and go back for. Most of it is old and out of date, or pretty beat up. Of course lying in the Arizona sun isn’t exactly making it look better either. But there’s no doubt that their former owners’ load was lightened when they found their new home by the road.
I couldn’t stop myself from wondering about the things we either dump or lose as we move along our own road of life. Most of us have moved and know that, usually when you get where you’re going, you discover that a few things have mysteriously disappeared.
If that’s happened to you around here, I very well could have seen it, and perhaps stepped on it, during one of my walks.
The truth is that all of us dispose of things as we move through life. We also lose people and things that we desperately wanted to keep but couldn’t. Either way, our load is lightened by what is lost and weighed down by whatever new we choose to add.
Just about anyone would probably benefit from occasionally checking to see what they’ve lost, found or added to their lives. It’s a good reality check to see if we’re still carrying baggage we know we need to dump. It can also be very encouraging to remind ourselves that we have given up some things and are better people for it.
I doubt that anyone reading this (someone does read this, right?) couldn’t benefit from doing a baggage checkup and then having a baggage check out as they get rid of not just physical things, but bad habits or attitudes or outlooks. If we can lighten our loads by removing what hinders us, then who knows where we may end up or what we could achieve.
I can tell you this for sure: If you’re moving in an upward direction, the more you try and carry the slower you will go. And if you try and carry too much you won’t be going anywhere but down. So lighten your load, breathe a little easier and enjoy your life journey.
You only get one, so keep on climbing as you move upward towards the goal.
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Louie Marsh is pastor of Christ’s Church on the River on the Parker Strip. Visit his website HERE.